NEWS

In Brief

DIGITAL LEAP

Government to spend 28 mln on new technology for municipalities Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said yesterday that he intends to spend 28 million euros in an effort to upgrade the technology available at the offices of local authorities. «Our country will make a digital leap in productivity, a digital leap in the quality of life,» said Pavlopoulos. Some 470 municipalities with populations of less than 20,000 people will benefit from the package. ANTI-GLOBALIZATION Four given stiff prison terms for riots five years ago in Thessaloniki A Thessaloniki court yesterday passed down heavy jail sentences to four people found guilty of participating in violence that broke out during an anti-globalization rally in the northern city in 2003, causing several injuries and many millions of euros in damage. The heaviest sentence, eight-and-a-half years, went to Briton Simon Chapman, who spent four months in prison at the time but was released after going on hunger strike. The other three men – a Greek, a Spaniard and a Syrian – got jail terms ranging from five-and-a-half to seven years. OLYMPIA CEREMONY Flame demonstrators go on trial Three members of a Paris-based press freedom group are to stand trial today for disrupting a flame-lighting ceremony for the Beijing Games in Olympia in March. The Reporters Without Borders members are to appear in court in Pyrgos near Ancient Olympia. They are charged with offending a national symbol. Tsekou rebuffed The magistrate probing the alleged blackmail of former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos yesterday rebuffed a request by Zachopoulos’s assistant Evi Tsekou, a prime suspect in the investigation, to be released. The magistrate deemed that it would be «dangerous» to release Tsekou, who has been in custody for several months, as she may commit new crimes or attempt to cover up old ones. Driver shot A 35-year-old motorist suffered minor injuries yesterday after an unidentified assailant shot at him five times from the back of a motorcycle being driven by an accomplice in Haidari, western Athens. The shots shattered the window, sprinkling the driver with shards of glass but without injuring him seriously. Police said it was probably a revenge attack. Fatal plunge Fire service staff on Samos yesterday recovered the body of a 22-year-old man from a 50-meter ravine into which his car had plunged. The circumstances of the fall were unclear. The victim had been working with the local police force, though it was unclear whether he had been on duty at the time of the accident. Ex-officer arrested Police yesterday arrested in Ioannina, northern Greece, a retired police officer who was found in possession of 94 kilos of imported cannabis from Albania. The suspect and two Albanian nationals were detained after the three men were intercepted by border guards while driving in the area of Perama. The retired police officer has been charged in the past with smuggling illegal immigrants into Greece, authorities added. Heat relief The Athens City Council will open its doors to some air-conditioned facilities today and tomorrow for those seeking relief from the hot weather. Authorities are advising people to dress lightly and drink plenty of water during the warmer conditions. Busy trio Three armed raids carried out on gas stations in different parts of Attica early yesterday are believed to have been carried out by the same group of three armed assailants. In the first raid, at a gas station in the coastal suburb of Hellenikon, one of the robbers struck the cashier, a foreign national, in the face before emptying the cash register. One hour later, three armed robbers raided a gas station in the district of Galatsi and about one hour later three men held up a gas station in Kallithea.